The last day I read an article in the newspaper about Chenin Blanc and immediately I wanted to remember this very nice wine of Loire Valley. We wanted to cook Artichoke Risotto and Surmallet with Vegetables and pair them with a nice 100% Chenin Blanc wine which we purchased from Clouly Dutheil – Chinon during our trip to Loire Valley in last autumn.
With a color of pale golden yellow, this Chenin Blanc of 2009 vintage has significant notes of yellow apple, pear, quince, apricot and some hints of almond at behind. Very fresh and has good acidity on the palate which gives some floral and mineral notes in addition to fruity flavors. There are some nice citrus flavors during the medium length finish as well.
We think about the dish at first stage when we cook at home. I put the wine into the picture later on. Actually it was a better food & wine pairing than I was expecting from this Chenin Blanc. We used the same wine in the Risotto which makes it more harmonious. Sometimes when we use a different white wine in the Risotto then we drink, there is a possibility to have some disharmony between the wine and the Risotto. Accordingly, when we cook, we usually prefer to use the same wine which we drink with the dish.
We used “Carnaroli” rice with the risotto, since I always believe that a good risotto can only be cooked by Carnaroli or Arborio rice… It is necessary to cook the artichokes “al dente” otherwise you might miss the balance between the risotto and the artichokes, since the Risotto is already cooked “al dente”. On the other hand, I prefer to eat the vegetables “al dente” and cooked “rare” so that, this keeps the color and vitamins of the vegetables which gives me more pleasure to eat…
Cooking the “Surmullet” with vegetables is also very easy, because we only use the oven while cooking this dish. We use a simple tray made by glass (which must be suitable to use in oven). We put some olive oil on the tray and set the surmullets on the tray side by side, season them with some sea salt and black pepper than put some seasonable vegetables on the top of the fish (such as celeries, white pepper or capsicum, some carrots etc.) and then add some dills on the top of the vegetables. Season them a bit more with sea salt and black pepper and then let it cook in the oven… Very simple and light dish which is very convenient with any type of white wine… It was also a good match with our Chenin Blanc, indeed!